YouTube’s TV Channels

As I’m sure, everyone knows the world of entertainment keeps changing. From new tablets, consoles and phones, corporations are in a rush to provide us with the next big thing. To stop evolving means death for entertainment-based companies. Therefore, they are always competing with each other to come out with the next new thing and we never have to wait long for it.

One of the main competitors for your attention (and money) is Google. Google has been trying to get its hands in every entertainment and digital medium imaginable. From Gmail to Google Reader to Google News to YouTube, (for those that don’t know Google bought YouTube in 2006 and has owned it ever since), Google seems to be a part of our everyday life.

But Google decided to take it one step further. Now they announced that they will make TV-like channels on YouTube to watch shows. I mean real channels, not user accounts with segments of shows. It should be like watching TV without watching it through a TV set.

Google has yet to reveal exactly how the system will work or more importantly what will be shown. I’m sure that they will offer a wide variety of channel selection along with regularly scheduled shows. Google will most likely release that information at some time before the service is to be released in early 2012.

I believe that Google’s attempt to link TV and the Internet could be a good idea, even though Hulu gave Internet users the ability to watch TV shows in 2008. But I have one question for YouTube: why did you wait until now to come up with this idea?

If Google had started the YouTube channel service earlier, then it might have been able to be an industry leader. Now its service will come in late, with lots of competition and have to play catch-up.

The team at Google also has another problem. Most people who watch TV probably have a DVR already. What point is it to watch TV on a laptop with a smaller screen when you can record your favorite show and watch it on a bigger TV? Besides, I don’t know too many who don’t already have some sort of TV service (dish, AT&T, Verizon, etc.).

To be honest, I’m not sure exactly who Google is targeting. Internet users already have other options, while cable and satellite providers can provide a far wider selection than Google can put on YouTube — at least for the time being that is. If Google could have tried this earlier than they might have been able to capitalize on the financial recession as people were dropping their TV service because they couldn’t afford it anymore.

Now those people have learned to deal with less, or have found other ways to spend their time. I think the team at Google has their work cut out for them if they want to make their latest project a success. But then again there was a time when YouTube itself wasn’t worth looking at. But that was before Google bought it in 2006.

When I first found YouTube I thought that it was the worst waste of time that people bothered to make. Back then, it was a collection of random and pointless videos like the panda that sneezes, and the one where the guy almost sets his house on fire because of his terrible cooking skills.  I didn’t get why anyone in their right mind would waste countless hours looking up rehashing of downright stupid events. But a lot has changed since then.

YouTube now has millions of videos on almost every topic imaginable ranging from breakup stories to music videos to documentaries. If you look, you can find anything on YouTube, and in the future we might watch YouTube instead of turning on a TV. However, I don’t feel that day will come anytime soon.

Braden Buckel is a first-year literary journalism major. He can be reached at bbuckel@uci.edu.